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Mark Cuban Blasts Trump, Calls Paying Taxes ‘Patriotic’

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — Celebrity billionaire Mark Cuban is blasting Donald Trump, saying that paying taxes as a rich person is “patriotic” and calling on Trump to explain which tax breaks he relies on.

“After military service, the most patriotic thing you can do as a wealthy person is pay your taxes. That keeps the roads paved, the military paid, and kids going to school, and he obviously doesn’t understand that concept,” Cuban told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day.”

A report from the New York Times released over the weekend showing that Trump could have avoided paying federal income taxes for 18 years because of $916 million in losses has dominated the national discussion with just weeks until the election.

Cuban, who is a supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, said he often gets offered tax breaks as a fellow billionaire, but avoids taking them. He called on Trump to release his returns.

“If Donald is taking tax shortcuts, maybe he bought an insurance policy as opposed to doing something in real estate and he took a huge tax write-off to offset income — we don’t know. And that’s the inherent problem: there’s no transparency and he is so ashamed of what he’s done,” Cuban said.

CNN has not independently verified the tax returns obtained by The New York Times, but the Trump campaign has not disputed the veracity of the documents, but said they were illegally obtained by the paper.

Trump’s supporters spent most of Sunday and Monday morning arguing that Trump was smart to avoid paying any taxes, if given the chance.

“The reality is, this is part of our tax code. The man’s a genius. He knows how to operate the tax code to the benefit of the people he’s serving,” former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.